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PHI@CIN: Latos limits Phils to earn 12th win of year

The Pirates have fallen 11 games behind the first-place Reds in the National League Central standings, but they remain in the thick of the Wild Card chase, which means the three-game series that begins Monday at Great American Ball Park carries a great deal of importance.

The fact that Pittsburgh will be facing the Reds for the first time since a tense series Aug. 3-5 -- when four Pirates were hit by pitches -- just adds extra flavor to the matchup.

"We'll keep things in mind, sometimes accidents happen, coincidences happen that make you go, 'Huh?'" Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after his team won the final game of that series. "We'll prepare for the next time we see them. But that's down the road."

Aroldis Chapman, the Reds' fireballing closer, plunked Pirates star Andrew McCutchen on the shoulder with a 98-mph heater in the ninth inning of Game 1 in that series.

The Pirates did not hit any Reds batters in the series and Hurdle was ejected from Game 2 for arguing with umpire Brian Gorman after Gorman issued a warning to both benches when Josh Harrison was hit by Reds starter Mike Leake.

"We're well aware of what we need to do the next time we face those guys, but we try to keep everything in balance," Hurdle said.

As much as they might like to somehow even the score with the Reds, the Pirates know they need to keep their emotions in check, because there are more important matters at stake.

After Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Cubs, the Pirates are in fourth place in the NL Wild Card standings, 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot.

The Reds, who lost to the Astros, 5-1, on Sunday, are cruising on their way to the Central title, leading second-place St. Louis by 8 1/2 games.

Reds third baseman Todd Frazier says the atmosphere when the Reds and Pirates get together is fun, regardless of the standings.

"Six more games is going to be a lot of fun," Frazier said. "It feels like a playoff atmosphere to me."

The Pirates and Reds play three more games in Pittsburgh Sept. 28-30.

Pirates: Rodriguez riding scoreless streak
The Pirates' starter Monday will be Wandy Rodriguez, who is 10-13 with a 3.71 ERA for the Astros and Pirates this season.

Rodriguez brings a string of 13 straight scoreless innings into the game and has five quality starts in his seven starts with the Pirates.

The left-hander is 3-4 with a 3.50 ERA with the Pirates.

• McCutchen was 1-for-3 Sunday, hitting his 25th home run. He is batting .341, second in the NL to the Giants' suspended Melky Cabrera's .346.

Reds: Latos gets the call
Mat Latos, who is 12-4 with a 3.68 ERA, will get the start. The right-hander is coming off a sharp outing in his last start against the Phillies on Tuesday, when he allowed four hits and one earned run in seven innings of a 2-1 victory.

• Right fielder Jay Bruce is the first player in Major League history to hit at least 20 home runs as a rookie before improving on that total in each of his next four seasons, according to the Reds public-relations office.

Bruce, who has 33 homers, was 2-for-4 with an RBI on Sunday, raising his batting average to .267 and his RBI total to 96.

Worth noting
• The Reds have lost back-to-back series for the first time since being swept by Cleveland on June 18-20 and losing two of three to Minnesota on June 22-24.

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